Clippers punch ticket to WCF after Mann catches fire in Game 6 win over Jazz

The Los Angeles Clippers have punched a ticket to the Western Conference Finals after beating the Utah Jazz 131-119 in Game 6 Friday.

Friday’s historical victory marks the franchise’s first-ever trip to the conference finals. Clippers rode the hot hand of Terance Mann as the 24-year-old finished Friday night's game with 39 points. Clips' Paul George finished the game with 28 points and 9 rebounds.

The Clippers returned to the locker room trailing the Jazz 72-50 at halftime. The Clips rebounded from what was a nightmare by outscoring Utah 41-22 in the third quarter to bring Los Angeles back in the mix for the fourth quarter.

The Clips were able to get it done without star Kawhi Leonard, who was knocked out of Games 5 and 6 due to a knee injury. It is unclear if Leonard will be able to return at all against the Phoenix Suns.

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For Clippers fans, it's been a long time coming. The Clippers franchise endured decades of irrelevance and disappointing finishes, dating all the way back to the team’s arrivals to San Diego in 1978 and eventual move to Los Angeles in 1984. The "Lob City" era brought fans some excitement with their two division titles (2013 and 2014) and the 2019 Clippers offseason generated a lot of buzz across the league, but it wasn’t until Friday night that the Clips have finally advanced to the franchise’s first-ever conference finals.

The Clippers will face the Suns, who swept the Denver Nuggets in four games in the conference semis. Prior to that, Phoenix beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the first round.

SERIES AT A GLANCE:

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HOW THEY GOT HERE

The Clippers punched a ticket to the Western Conference semis after outlasting Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in seven games in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. The Clips dropped the first three home games against the Mavs while winning all three games in Dallas and then taking Game 7 and the series at 4-3. 

Prior to the first round, the Clippers secured the fourth seed in the Western Conference side of the bracket after finishing the COVID-shortened regular season with a 47-25 record.

The Jazz advanced to the second round after beating the Memphis Grizzlies in five games. Utah entered the NBA Playoffs as a No. 1 seed after finishing with the league-best 52-20 record.